Boy was I wrong.
I went to a legit dealership and spent £8500 on a car first registered in March 2002. I was told that it had been a show car for trade fairs and the like, and it had just 6,700 miles on the clock. On paper it was a great car.
In reality I got a car that has been a bit of a nightmare.
June 03 – Car springs a leak in the rear driver-side footwell. It turns out to be a bad door seal.
October 03 – Car has a wet patch on front passenger footwell, closer inspection reveals water running through the glove-compartment ruining all the stuff I had in there. It turns out that a valve on my Air con wasn’t connected properly. They promise to fix it within four hours and that they will call me when they are done. I figure I will shop for a bit, as they haven't offered me a hire car for the day. Seven hours pass and they never call. So I go back to the garage, and find the car is sitting ready on the fore-court - they just didn't call me.
June 04 – Air con breaks and floods again.
September 04 – Engine randomly begins stalling for no apparent reason. They tell me nothing is wrong.
January 05 – Air con goes wrong yet again.
February 05 – Car stalls suddenly while I am driving it and refuses to start again. They replace a fuse and tell me it is fine. But the steering is a bit weird and the car judders slightly whenever I lose speed.
March 05 - After a few days the car engine cuts out whenever I slow down below 20mph and of course the power steering ceases to exist at the same time. Not good. I contact the garage and they tell me to bring the car to them. I tell them that I don’t think the car is safe to drive – especially not to them as it is not a short drive and it has lots of stops, turns, roundabouts and a stretch of motorway to negotiate. They tell me that I have no choice, I should get as far as I can, and I always call the break-down services if need be! Great, so I should try to get as far as I can in a car I think is unsafe?
June 05 – Car refuses to start one morning. Electrics again. The battery is also drained. Due to this so I have to have a new one. More expense. The kicker is that they tell me they can't work on the car for two weeks. Two weeks? I need that car! I get my godfather to call them - he manages to get my car in just three days later. (Is it because I'm a girl?)
August 05 – De-mister for the front windscreen breaks. They fix it and it breaks again by November. I tell them this and they tell me that I can bring the car in again to have it fixed – but it will cost me. I can’t afford it so I don’t bother.
January 06 – The exhaust has blown. (I haven’t actually contacted them yet.)
Throughout all of this hassle the garage staff have been totally un-helpful, and one was downright rude. I could understand their attitude if I was just a nasty nit-picking customer, but I have genuine faults with my damn car, and I haven’t been rude to any of them.
(I only kept going to the same garage because it was the dealership that sold me the car and covered some of the stuff under the warranty. Also, the car is too hi-tech for a mechanic friend of mine to deal with - it has to be given to the professionals, no matter how un-professional they can be.)
I can’t help but wonder if they knowingly sold me a dud.
I wonder if I can somehow get them to fix up the latest fault free or at a reduced rate, because I think you have a reasonable expectation of getting what you pay for, and with this car I have in no way received that. I spent all my savings on buying this car, the repairs have cost me a lot more than I can afford on my salary, and I was looking for a car that wouldn’t cause me any hassle or extra expense.
And surely an exhaust shouldn’t just blow with a mileage of 20,800? Are there any car experts with any ideas about that sort of thing?